blog storytelling

Understanding storyboard: the first steps to visual storytelling

Today, stories are all around us. All they need is an interesting voice to connect with the audience and leave an impact. When you think of your all-time favourite movies in Bollywood or Hollywood, they will all have one thing in common – exceptional storytelling. A filmmaker will tell you how important a role storyboarding plays in creating a visual story. Wondering what that is? Read on.


What is a storyboard?
In visual storytelling, this is one of the earliest steps taken after the story is in place. A storyboard is all about visualising a particular story, in the form of a series of drawings. In simple terms, it is a visual layout of events, as seen through the lens of a camera. They can be illustrations or images displayed in a particular sequence for better pre-visualisation of a video or animation. This graphic representation will depict how your video will unfold, one shot at a time. You can consider this to be a comic book version of your script.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Storyboard.


Why you need a storyboard?
When you’ve got a great story to tell and the skills to shoot it well, you might wonder if you really need a storyboard? If it’s an extra step that delays your production. Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s one of the most important steps involved in a film as it helps you:

Share your vision
You might have the whole story with the smallest details in your head, but you cannot convey it all just through your words. With the help of this visual aid, you can explain your vision to the entire team. Many people can’t visualise from a script the way you probably do. A storyboard is a perfect way to explain your idea to others.

Reduce production hassles
A storyboard gives you a plan and a roadmap for production. You know the shots you’ll need, the order of the video and also the way your visuals will interact with the script. You can plan your angles, coverage, and storyline perfectly with a storyboard.

Save Time
When time is money, a storyboard can reduce a lot of revisions in the long term. It makes the process smooth and simple, thus saving time, energy and money.


Best Practices for A Great Storyboard

    • Start with blank slides or use printable storyboard templates. Leave some space to write notes from the script next to each slide.
    • Start writing the script and notes about what’s occurring in the space. The storyboard should read like a comic book.
    • Next, start sketching the story. You don’t need to be an artist – bad drawings are better than no drawings! The visuals should give an impression of what is happening. The text will help to fill in the gaps.
    • Small notes about camera angles, movement, and the transition will help in production and post-production.
    • Include relevant details like props, characters, text on the screen, etc.
    • Don’t forget to ensure that your message is clearly delivered.

Although storytelling and creating storyboards may seem intimidating at first, it can have immense positive results on your final video. This is why the filmmaking course at Virtual Academy gives special focus on learning how to storyboard. In the meanwhile, just grab a paper and pen and start visualising. Practice will definitely improve your skills and make you a much better storyteller.